Friday, September 09, 2011

September Flood Day

Rolling, leaping, muddy water races through woods and across meadows.
Every school year our calendar has built in snow days, usually five, and usually we need more. This year the calendar has ten built in snow days, a good thing as two of them have already been used for floods. With  record rainfall amounts from both hurricane Irene and tropical storm Lee, the Housatonic River, which runs through my small town, has climbed up over its banks and inundated roads, farm fields and yards for miles around. Damage here has been minimal compared to that wrought by floodwaters in neighboring NY, VT, and CT as well as states further south but that's not much consolation when it's your business standing in the new middle of a river as some local establishments are.

Water slapping at the bridge pilings.
I walked down to the covered bridge early this morning to see how high the water had risen. The dirt road was partially covered in running water but it didn't look too deep. I waded in cautiously and was nearly swept off my feet by the strength of the water as it surged into the flooded parking lot. I was surprised that a mere 8 inches or so of water could push that hard but then I remembered it had the full force of the raging river behind it. I jogged through it coming back but the water tugged harder still, forcing me from the middle of the road to the dangerous washed out verge. My rolled up jeans were wet to the knees and the knees inside them were shaking by the time I was back on dry land.

Looking deceptively shallow, the force of this swiftly running water nearly upended me.
A trip to the neighboring town for groceries took me miles out of the way as roadblocks, flood warnings, and waving policemen sent me detouring around the main route. There's a staggering amount of water out there, all of it muddy and rushing and threatening. I can only imagine the havoc it's wreaking to the north and south of us. 

This water was just shy of covering the bridge that crosses it.


Kerry said...

Oh hey, do stay out of that innocent-looking shallow water; it's been the undoing of so many. Stay safe!

Barely into September, and already two snow days used up: now that's almost unheard of.

Judith said...

Take care, Pauline. Your photos are amazing, and you do need groceries. Granted. But we need you more! So be cautious with your precious self.

Brian Miller said...

goodness yes watch your elf arounf those is what you can not see that might get you...flooding is some scary stuff...

Towanda said...

Wow. That must have been a terribly scary experience even if the water was shallow. Take care!

Out on the prairie said...

where I live we have alerts a lot but only a few floods, hoping you stay dry

Tabor said...

Tragedies north of my home. Be careful, depth and speed of water is not the only danger when areas are covered.

Pauline said...

Kerry - it looked so shallow. I could see the road through the little wavelets. There was a lot of force to it though, once I got into the middle of it.

Aw, thanks J - I don't think I was in any real danger. I would have been more frightened if I'd actually lost my footing though.

Brian - there was plenty to grab onto if I'd been swept off the road. I wasn't scared till it was all over.

Towanda - I think I was more excited than scared until I was back on dry ground. Then thinking about what could have happened it the water had been deeper scared me more than the actual experience.

OOTP - the water is amazingly high and moving so quickly and has spread out to cover acres!

Tabor - a car had to be towed from the water pooled on my street because it was so much deeper than it looked to the driver.